Hipster and cop are two words that don't usually go together. But at the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York, the two words have become synonymous with a plainclothes NYPD detective named Rick Lee.
Why is he known in the blogosphere as "The Hipster Cop" you ask? Because he can be seen sporting fashion brands like Ralph Lauren and J. Crew every day on the protest lines (his best friend works at Ralph Lauren, natch) as part of his style that he describes to GQ as "traditional English country."
"This is how I always dress. I've always been into fashion. Since high school," he says. "Since I got my first job and was able to buy my own clothes. Though maybe I'll wear a top hat to work tomorrow."
Lee admits his clothes isn't exactly what most people associate with policemen, but since he serves as a liaison between the community and the precinct, his sophisticated sense of style has helped (even if he gets teased about it "a bit" by co-workers down at the station). "When they see that I dress kinda cool, wear thin ties, look trendy, it breaks a lot of walls down initially to get the bridge building started. It actually works," he says. "People go, 'Wow! You wear Burberry. You wear Ralph Lauren. That's cool.'"
It doesn't help that — according to Lee — TV hasn't really accurately portrayed cops since the '70s series Barney Miller. "That's as close as it comes. Otherwise I watch Mad Men, I watch Boardwalk Empire. I watch the History Channel a lot. That's more my thing."